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Old 03-23-2008, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default Distilled water in aluminum radiator, yes or no?

Last night a Kit Car cobra overheated and puked coolant all over the ground. It started a conversation about overheating, and I told a buddy of mine that when I was on the power tour, alot of the older muscle cars were having major overheat problems while idling in traffic in Louisiana. They were buying the hell out of the Purple Ice stuff that Royal Purple sells.

While they were buying, they were talking to one of the techs at RP and he would ask them what type of water they were running in their cars. Every single one of the guys said that they were running Distilled water. He told them that distilled was bad to run because the water was stripped of all it's minerals, and in the presence of metals it would attempt to get those minerals back, so the water was essentially "attacking" the aluminum radiators, causing pressure and some overheating.

That was basically the gist of it, so last night I mentioned that story to my buddy as a probable cause of the overheating, and he just started laughing his *** off at me saying that was the most retarded thing he ever heard. :wtf:

So whats the deal? Who's right and whose wrong? I told that theory to another car buddy of mine and he said that is was very possible that it could be the case is the radiator was lined.

So what do you guys think?
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:56 PM   #2
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Call any company that manufactures aluminum radiators and they'll tell you to use distilled water. Been doing it for years and have never had an issue. Radiators look perfect inside. I've seen some nasty rads that have used water out the garden hose and were totally gunked up. It's the minerals that attack the aluminum not the lack of minerals.

I used redline water wetter on one of my cars and it didn't help me. So I stopped running it. But maybe purple ice and the such have something in them that aluminum doesn't like.
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
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Yeah I agree mineral will be the cause of the gunk, but it would have to be alot like out of a nasty pond or somthing.
All coolant has anticorssive in it to prevent any corrosion anyway.
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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Oh and what I know about most of those cobra kit cars is they all have overheating issues combination of too small of a radiator lack of airflow ect.
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
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I'm from the school of thought that any time a radiator is filled, it needs to be with distilled water. That's what the owner's manual says, and I'm sure if I looked, the Helms would say something similar.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:11 PM   #6
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he just started laughing his *** off at me saying that was the most retarded thing he ever heard. :wtf:
This information is correct. You SHOULD use distilled water when you change the coolant. Water purity, hardness, softness all vary greatly. Read the manual or any write up on coolant flush/change.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:48 PM   #7
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water doesnt naturally contain minerals, the minerals contaminate the water.

it would be a different story if aluminum was a natural part of H2O, in which case yes, it would fight to gain back the missing element...but it's not.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
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Theoreticly that's all you should use when you add water to you cooling system, but I've never had a problem filling from a hose.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:17 PM   #9
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Sounds like their gonna start making Royal Purple water now.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:08 PM   #10
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Tap water is fine. It's only in Europe, who has MUCH harder water than in the U.S., do owners need to use distilled water. But you can use distilled water if you want, that RP rep obviously was not paying too close attention in high school chem class.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:17 PM   #11
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I am pretty sure Royal purple ICE, and the red Watter Wetter addatives that you use to drop temperatures will not work without running distilled water. At least thats what I have learned from all of our customers who purchase it.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:50 PM   #12
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Whether you like the idea of minerals in your cooling system or not is a personal decision. Chemistry101 says that to an extent minerals dissolved in the water will enhance it's ability to cool the engine, and reduce steam pockets etc by raising the boiling point of the water. It may not be the most scientific explanation, but tap water will cool your engine better than distilled water. There is no legitimate purpose for distilled water other than the fact that some people are afraid of a few mineral deposits. The distilled water phenomenon is snake oil. Some people that live off of rather unfiltered well water would be better off using it because they can have higher than average levels of minerals in their water that can eventually build up to the point of inhibiting flow, but the average city water is overall the best choice for all-around cooling. Flush the system from time to time if you worry about it.
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:20 PM   #13
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Straight from the Royal Purple website

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Distilled water and / or demineralized water should not be used if you elect to run a mixture of straight water and Purple Ice in your radiator.
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:49 PM   #14
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I have some nasty *** well water and will not put that in my radiator. I just use distilled water. I dont really know how well those additives really work though. I used the Red line water wetter with a mix of distilled and the dexcool coolant. Didnt make a bit of difference. Im sure if I used straight up water it might have though. I live in the Chicago area so thats definatley not an option for me.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:14 AM   #15
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O.K., first off, I use to be a chemist working in a lab testing drinking water.

Water varies greatly from surface water to ground water and even from one well to another, right next to each other. We have 2 resivors and they are vastly different.

Water hardness in Europe is no different than in the US. If you read something different it is about treated water and what is considered acceptable limits.

I have personally seen copper pipes get holes in them or get filled to the point of clogging with hard water issues.

Distilled or De-Ionized water is going to be your best option for your cooling system.

If you are having cooling issues, something is wrong.
*Too small radiator for your CI
*Get a better water Pump
*Issue with fans
*Air in the system
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:41 AM   #16
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I've always read to use distilled water in older vehicles. I've always used water from the hose which is city water, not well water.
In the owners manual for my 2002 Camaro it says to use clean drinkable water and Dexcool. In those exact words.
I personally don't think the coolant or water will make anything run any different temperature wise. I think it effects longevity of parts as far as corrosion.
If your cooling system is sized right and in good working order it should cool even with straight water (but it will corrode faster).
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:07 AM   #17
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I believe distilled water would be best as there are no minerals to contaminate your system. Well water/tap water all contain minerals which will build up after time. As far as different waters cooling better... I do not see how that is as ALL water boils at 212 degrees F, the pressure in the system effectively raises the boiling point somewhat but it seems that the cobra kit car's cooling system is ineffective for the car itself. I personally would only use distilled water... sure its probably fine if you use tap water as long as you do a good coolant flush regularly.
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:55 PM   #18
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I always used distilled water in all of my cars and have never had any issues. I just recently started using RMI-25 as recommended by a GN buddy of mine and have had great luck with it. A week after I put it in my radiator I decided to open the cap and was surprised to see that the stuff was actually working. What surprised me the most was the amount of crud and build-up the RMI removed and actually cleaned up. I do know once it was added to the old radiator in the GN the temps went down about 10* after the car was driven a few times.
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon5212 View Post
I believe distilled water would be best as there are no minerals to contaminate your system. Well water/tap water all contain minerals which will build up after time. As far as different waters cooling better... I do not see how that is as ALL water boils at 212 degrees F, the pressure in the system effectively raises the boiling point somewhat but it seems that the cobra kit car's cooling system is ineffective for the car itself. I personally would only use distilled water... sure its probably fine if you use tap water as long as you do a good coolant flush regularly.
No, not all water boils at 212. Purified water itself may, but there is more to your water than just H2O. Everything you add to it (minerals) changes those properties. It's not only about the boiling point though, it is also about the water's ability to take on and disperse heat, and that property of water is also changed by the minerals it contains. Minerals won't "contaminate" your system. Too much can cause problems, like with unfiltered well water. Anyone that thinks tap water from their city is bad for their car is incorrect. The only way anything could build up in your system either way is if you don't take care of it, at which point the problem is lack of maintenance, not the water. That's like saying I didn't change my oil for 100,000 and my engine is nasty inside, quaker state isn't good enough.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:58 PM   #20
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Distilled is the only water to run. If you live in a town that has good water you MAY get by without any troubles. However at our shop we use nothing but distilled and antifreeze. The water in our town sucks and I have seen it eat up radiators, intakes and freeze plugs when used straight in less than six months.
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